Chicago to Nairobi

After completing Kiva Fellows Training in San Francisco, and moving my last few possessions into storage in Chicago, it was time to make the 8000 mile journey to Nairobi and start my fellowship!  With the exception of some visa troubles at the airport in Chicago, the journey went relatively simply and smoothly; I passed the time pretty effectively with a combination of in-flight movies, coffee and snacks in Amsterdam en route, and reading my new book on my new Kindle. 

The book, The International Bank of Bob, was written by a Kiva-enthusiast who travelled the world meeting borrowers, some of whom he'd lent to personally, and telling their stories.  For a little more insight into the kind of things fellows get up to and the people they meet throughout their journey, I recommend reading it too!

"Where can a rural farmer in Murang'a, Central Province, borrow 63,000 Kenyan shillings to finance a fancy new cow?"
                                           -- Bob Harris, The International Bank of Bob

After arriving in Nairobi and waiting an hour for my bags to appear (while trying not to think about all the stories I'd heard of lost bags and stolen electronics), I was welcomed by my taxi driver, Dominic, and we began a 45 minute undertaking, attempting to exit the airport car park.  In the time Dominic had been waiting for me at arrivals, two other people had parked behind his taxi, inventing their own parking spaces and blocking us in. Fortunately the parking attendants had the keys to these cars, but unfortunately, it was up to us to move them out of the way and back again ourselves.  Surprisingly after a 24 hour journey and with jetlag setting in, I didn't feel overly comfortable with the idea of driving someone else's car around a busy car park in Nairobi, so I sat and waited while Dominic moved various cars backwards and forwards and we negotiated our way through the sea of traffic towards the exit.

Finally on the highway, the journey to the guest house was only another half an hour and it wasn't long before I'd been shown to my room, unpacked a few essentials, and positioned my mosquito net ready for my first night in Kenya. I'm excited to share the new adventures and experiences to come!

About the author

Steve Isaacs

Steve is originally from the UK, but moved across the Atlantic in 2011 and has been living and working in Chicago for the past 3 years. After graduating from the University of Bristol with a degree in Mathematics, he began his career as a derivatives trader working for a leading financial services firm, and has subsequently worked in London, Amsterdam and Chicago. Alongside his professional career, Steve is actively engaged in the Chicago community, serving on the boards of two local non-profit organizations. Steve has always loved travel, photography and adventure, and his own personal highlights have included trekking in the Himalayas, sailing to Antarctica and camping in the Serengeti. Following previous voluntary roles in Tanzania and Guatemala, he is excited to have the opportunity to serve as a Kiva Fellow in Kenya and apply his expertise in finance and economics while continuing to learn about the on-the-ground realities of international development.